Feds give MedForce the thumbs up

Sunday, September 26, 2010

CHESTNUT RIDGE, N.Y. - When MedForce Technologies learned in July that its business software qualified as a "certified" electronic health record module, company officials did not take the news sitting down.

"We partied that day!" said CEO Ester Apter. "We worked hard to get certified."

To her knowledge, Apter said, none of her competitors have been certified, and that could give MedForce an important competitive advantage.

The "certified" designation means that some MedForce Scan users may eventually qualify for financial incentives from the U.S. government. The incentives have not yet been determined, but they are intended to give companies a reason to upgrade their software. The program is part of federal efforts to remove waste from the healthcare system by encouraging providers to become more efficient.

MedForce's software could eventually qualify for the incentive under the program's security requirement for electronic health records (EHR). This means the company's document management program takes the steps necessary to allow only authorized staff to view electronic health records.

MedForce received its certification, which is much like accreditation for HME providers, from the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT).

Currently, HME providers are not eligible to participate in the program, but that could change, said Apter, who's been "careful not to mislead anyone."

That said, a hospital, outpatient clinic or some other referral source that is eligible may prefer to work with an HME provider who uses certified software, she said.

Likewise, if the initiative stalls, and the incentives are never implemented, becoming certified "was a good exercise to go through."

"It's not just validation; it's an eye from the outside," Apter said. "It's a good thing to have some sort of certification."